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African American film network debuts in UK with Big Words

NEW NETWORK: Journalist-turned-filmmaker Neil Drumming with actress Yaya Alafia on the set of Big Words

STILL BASKING in the success of several theatrical releases in the US, a film distribution network dedicated to promoting the work of black filmmakers is set to launch in the UK later this month.

The African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), a collective of black film organisations founded in 2011 by Sundance Award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay, will debut in the UK with the critically acclaimed hip-hop dramedy Big Words.

The film was written and directed by journalist-turned-filmmaker Neil Drumming, and will be screened at the Stratford Picture House on Bank Holiday Monday, August 26.


DuVernay said: “AFFRM’s mantra and mission is to celebrate bold voices in black filmmaking, and we are eager to offer some of the finest films by black directors to UK audiences.”

DuVernay was the first African-American woman to be awarded the directing prize in 2012 for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere.

The story of Big Words is set in Brooklyn on the eve of Barack Obama’s 2008 history-making Presidential Election, which saw an unprecedented turnout among the black community.


It follows the lives of three friends who were once members of a promising hip-hop group but are now dealing with the challenges of being in their late 30s.

Despite the characters not voting in the election, Drumming explained that he “had no political agenda” with the film. Instead, the hip-hop fanatic said he felt inspired to tell a story about “three self-absorbed men caught up in their own lives.”

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